The BQ(Q) – Anton Krupicka (La Sportiva)

Anton Krupicka is one of the faces of ultra-running, know for big mileage in the mountains and pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a mountain athlete. But before he won Leadville and began redefining what it meant to be a mountain runner, he raced cross country… and had some serious wheels.

Here he tells us about the first time he qualified for Boston at age 19. Inspiring stuff. It is incredible to read that at such a young age, he already has so many miles in his legs. Huge thanks to Anton for taking the time to fill this out. I for one am really excited to see what adventures he has planned for 2016.


Name: Anton Krupicka (La Sportiva,  Ultimate Direction, Buff, Petzl, Zeal, and Stance)


Sex: Male


Age (at the time of first BQ): 19


Height: 6’1”


Weight (at the time of first BQ): I honestly really have no idea. Probably 150-ish pounds.


At which marathon did you get your first BQ? The 2002 Overland Park Gobbler Grind in Kansas. Late November, just before Thanksgiving.


What was your finishing time? 2:55:11

Tell us a little about the race.

I think I won. For some reason that’s not noted in my training log. I honestly don’t remember much else about the race. It was the end of my sophomore college XC season (I ran both track and XC at DIII Colorado College) and I was road tripping back to Colorado from Minnesota with some other XC friends. We’d been spectating the XC National Championships in MN and worked it into the trip to stop off so I could do this marathon on the way home. College racing was a very frustrating experience for me—I don’t respond very well to lots of intensity in my training schedule, so our twice-weekly interval workouts on top of weekend races was a lot to handle. This marathon was simply an indulgence of the kind of running I’ve always preferred—long, steady, efforts. I’d run my first marathon when I was 12 (3:50). This was my second marathon.


How long had you been running when you ran your first BQ? Seven years.


Did you run in college or high school? Yes, both.


What was your approximate lifetime mileage at the time of your first BQ? Right about 20,000 miles.


How many miles did you run in the year before your first BQ? ~3400. I have detailed training logs for every day since April 12th, 1995 (two months after I started running).


Approximately how many races did you run in that year? Well, since it included a full track and XC season, at least 15 or so.


Did you follow a canned program? If so, which one? If not, can you give us an idea of what your training philosophy was? Back then, I was doing a lot of mileage. 100mpw was always the bench-mark, but I would go as high as the 130s. Within the next five years I would do much higher mileage, but with twice-weekly speed workouts and a weekly race, 100-130 mpw was about the most I could handle at the time.


Did you run with a running club or utilize a coach? In college, I had the track and XC teams and coaches.


Did cross training play a role in your training? If so, how? Back then, I would only cross train if I was injured. I would road bike. Now, I cross train constantly (climbing, biking, skiing) and don’t do any running junk mileage. Every running effort I do now has a very specific purpose (usually a long run, or hill repeats, or maybe a tempo run).


Did speed work play a role or specific workouts play a role in your training? If so, how?

Because I was training specifically for 5k-10k races, speedwork definitely had a role in my training. But that role always seemed to be to just tear me down. For marathon training, long runs and long tempos at marathon pace are much more important.


Any other thoughts you would like to share with those of working towards a BQ?

I think a BQ is a great goal. It was never one I specifically held, but road marathons were always more of a novelty thing for me and never a specific goal race. I think goals are extremely important for motivating day-to-day commitment, so even if achieving a BQ seems like an impossibility, don’t minimize the value of having that kind of lofty goal in your life!


Photo: Jim Stein

Check out responses from other pros and legends here. And all responses here.

Friday Inspiration — The Injured Runner

I found this video of 15 hours in he life of Anton Krupicka strangely moving and inspiring in its discussion of a running struggling to find balance.

Krupicka is a talent runner and a thoughtful guy. Here, he discusses how injury has hampered his running career. I feel for him. Especially as it seems his youthful mistakes may have lead to the problems he’s having now, because believe me, if there is anything I know about its youthful mistakes.

Krupicka seems to be expanding his training horizons to include more climbing, skiing, and cycling. I hope it works for him, and I hope he can someday return to top form.

Friday Inspiration – Runners Talking About Running

This one is  a different kind of Friday Inspiration. It’s a short, casual interview with of the most interesting ultra-runners out there – Anton Krupicka, Scott Jurek and Peter Balkwin.  Interesting questions, and interesting answers on why they race (or don’t race) why they run, and how to treat my personal nemesis, plantar fasciitis.

I’d never heard of Balkwin before seeing this video – he seems like an interesting character. Check him (and Krupicka and Jurek) out.

Friday Inspiration – Winter Running

I spent the New Year in Vermont doing more cross country skiing than running.  Still, the cold months of running ahead have been on my mind.   This week, back in Brooklyn and back to the grind, I was up and out for some chilly morning runs. Its that time of year when getting out the door takes a little longer and for the first mile or so you’re sure you’re under dressed.  You think about turning around.  But then your body warms up, and  you’re cruising through the almost empty park, and it all seems perfect.

If you’re wondering whether you should get out and run in the cold this weekend, I think this video of Anton Krupicka running through the Colorado winter will help you make up your mind.

2013 Goals – Running

Although it is much maligned in the modern world, I’m still a big fan of the New Years resolution.  The new year is a chance to start again, to imagine a better version of yourself, try to try, even if you fail.

This year I’m starting off with running goals which can be accomplished through work and time on the roads and are not dependent on a good race day performance.  I’ll admit that in the back of my mind I am already thinking about 5k and marathon PRs, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  For now I want to focus on what I can control – my dedication to the sport.  With that in mind here are the goals.

Finally reach the 2,000 mile threshold.  Maybe it is because of how much time I spend on running ahead, but the 2,000 mile a year threshold has come to represent commitment (and health) to me.  Two years ago, I chased the 2k number late in the year and ended up sidelined by injury.  Last year was a total disaster and I didn’t even run a thousand miles.  But this year, for the first time in forever, I’m starting the year healthy and relatively fit.  If I stay consistent, there is no reason I can’t hit the 2,000 mile mark.

Complete 365 loops of Prospect Park.  The longer I am at the running game, the clearer it becomes that the key to success is consistency.  Better to run thirty miles a week for six months injury free than fifty miles for a month and get hurt.  In the past, I’ve had success with running streaks, but for me, a daily streak is just asking to get hurt.  Inspired by Anton Krupicka’s  goal from a couple fo years ago to average a climb of Green Mountain everyday, I’m setting the more modest goal of completing 365 loops of Prospect Park. To count, a loop has to be the longer 3.3 loop.  This is the goal I am most excited about. I love the park, and I am looking forward to spending even more time in it.

Make a weekly “work out” a regular part of my running.  If I want a BQ only running easy miles is not going to cut it.  Whether it be a tempo run, hills, a fartlek, or whatever, I need to make something harder a regular part of my running.  “Work outs” might not happen every week, but they need to happen more often than they are now.

I’ve made at least two of these goals before and failed because of injury, or life, or whatever, to reach them. But that doesn’t mean I won’t get there this year. I’m looking forward to running in the New Year. I hope you are too.

What do you think, Sam?

Friday Inspiration

The return of friday videos to get you excited for weekend long runs. Here is one of Anton Krupicka who long runs are looooong. Like a hundred miles long. Krupicka is definitely a dirty hippie, also a really interesting character. Check him out customizing his shoes to make them more light weight and unobtrusive at the begining of the video.

My long run isn’t going to be Krupicka long, I’m just hoping to go fourteen miles.